What is SO incredibly frustrating is that I am starting to "feel" how the numbers work together. I can see that the equations are all related and that they build on one another (which tells me that they are just describing different facets of what the numbers are doing/representing--like saying the same thing in different words so that you end up emphasizing different aspects of the thing). Unfortunately, the class moves at close to the speed of light (gotta cover everything, after all) and the relationships among the concepts are NOT clear.
The instructor does a great job given the institutional constraints on the course/her teaching. It is just so frustrating to realize that I am actually at a point in my relationship with mathematics where I could actually understand and BENEFIT from it, and can't because something gets lost in the translation between the words and the symbols. I soooo need a good translator. I may just sit down and make myself (and all the other poor students who have to endure this torture that SHOULDN'T be torturous) a chart . . . if I can ever get enough sleep to think through it clearly.
As I hear parents say, "Use your words" to their 2-year-olds, I think of mathematicians who haven't yet learned to use THEIR words to explain their symbols to me.
I did have to chuckle when I realized that the symbols really are all Greek (at least, so far)! The phrase, "It's all Greek to me" has a totally new meaning to me now! I'll have to ask my colleague from Greece tomorrow if the symbols mean something else in Greek, or if math is just naturally easy for him!